ST. BONAVENTURE, NY — St. Bonaventure’s women’s rugby team narrowly missed a chance for an unbeaten regular season Saturday, but its season is far from over.
The Bonnies fell, 39-33, at RIT Saturday to lose the Division 2 Hybrid West title to the unbeaten Tigers (5-0), but will host Oswego at 1 p.m. Sunday in the semifinals of the Upstate New York Collegiate Rugby Conference Hybrid playoffs.
If the second-seeded Bonnies (4-1) beat third-seeded Oswego (3-2), they’ll play the winner of No. 4 Geneseo (3-2) and No. 1 Colgate (5-0), champions of the Hybrid East Division, the following weekend at the home of the higher-seeded team.
Both winners this Sunday, regardless of the outcome of the title game, remain alive for the National Small College Rugby Organization tournament in November.
Coach Clarence Picard always knew this was going to be a rebuilding year with only six healthy upperclassmen returning — Kasey Tokos, Olivia Boyd, Amber Peralta, Morgan Hoffman and All-Americans Emily Sion and Kelly DeGrood — so having the chance to progress toward the NSCRO tourney with a win Sunday is a pleasant surprise.
“They’re all fully invested in the program and take their leadership roles seriously,” Picard said. “And even though she’s injured, co-captain Diana DeVito impacts us daily and is on track to return for 7s in the spring.”
The Bonnies have been bolstered by sophomores Allyson Frohock, who emerged as a scoring threat at the national 7s tourney in April, and Chelsey Vincent, who switched to rugby from club basketball.
“Vincent’s not only become a reliable goal kicker, but is a threat running the ball and an aggressive defender” Picard said.
Vincent leads the Bonnies in scoring with 35 points, 25 from conversions and penalty kicks. Sion, Frohock and DeGrood each have six tries to lead the team, which outscored its opponents 174-73.
“We’re excited to test ourselves against Oswego, who advanced to the national tournament last year and have an All-American,” Picard said. “They have strong, athletic ball carriers throughout their lineup, and we’re going to have to show up physically.
“Playoff rugby is a new level of intensity for our young players, and already this week I’ve seen a focus that has me excited.”